To state it bluntly: I believe that the best website building platform for churches is Squarespace. However, before I get into the why, I do want to clarify two things:
1. I am not getting paid in any way shape or form from Squarespace for using their service or for promoting it.
2. I came to decide that Squarespace was best for churches when looking into what we were going to use for our church, and I still continue to believe that it is best for nearly any church.
So before I give the reasons why I believe Squarespace is the best option for churches, here are my TWO qualifications (which are rare) that could give a church a reason not to use Squarespace.
1. Your church needs to host it’s own “membership login” section. Basically, if you want members to be able to create profiles with logins that would allow a Facebook-like interaction on your website, you have to go elsewhere. However, 99% of churches who have these type of features use extensions such as “The City” (http://www.onthecity.org) to handle all of it, as it can be complicated to set up and run on your own. Using "The City" or a similar option would still allow you to use Squarespace because you would merely be linking to their website, which takes care of all of the logins and profiles.
2. Your church has a well qualified person to take care of all website needs in a very professional fashion for dirt cheap and you’re not concerned about them ever leaving.
These are pretty much the only 2 reasons I can think of to not use Squarespace. However, reason number 2 is even a little sketchy, as it’s doubtful that anyone who gives Squarespace a try would be unwilling to use such a service that would save them a lot of time and effort for very little cost. But we’ll get into that later.
6 reasons why I firmly believe that Squarespace is the best option for churches.
1) Maintained by Squarespace.
My biggest frustration with other services is having to make sure I’m updating everything, fixing plugins that break, etc. By essentially outsourcing these things to Squarespace, I don’t have to do the menial tasks of basic upkeep, which can pop up at any moment and can vary in both time and intensity.
Many people assume that because you start with a template then you are limited in some way. You really aren’t. The fact is, you are given a ton of opportunities (though preferences and pure coding) to make your website exactly the way you want it. There are very few limitations, but even those can be bypassed by turning your website into a “developer” website.
3) Backend Updates
Again, moving past peoples' negative connotations, templates can serve an amazing purpose. In this case, by having templates, Squarespace is able to do general updates to all of their websites to improve nearly everything about them. This is a great benefit to their users because they constantly have improved websites without having to update plugins, code, or other pieces of the site (which can be pricey and time consuming).
4) Content Management
A second amazing benefit to Squarespace’s templates is that even if you took the time to design the website with complicated code, you can still edit most of your website with the simple drag and drop interface they provide you with. This saves tons of time when doing regular updates to your website, such as changing information or adding events, because honestly, if it’s not quick and easy, it probably won’t get done.
5) Customer Service
Not only do you gain a wonderful team taking care of your website maintenance but you gain 24/7 support with them as well! Squarespace is known for their customer service and have served me well every time I’ve come to them with problems. They are known for their high-quality support, and that’s always important.
I know there will be pushback on this one, however, for any good church website, Squarespace is a solid contender on price. If you only need a 3 or 4 page site to display basic information in a brochure-like manner, you might be able to save about $40 a year somewhere else. However, if you’re uploading sermons for a podcast, have a church calendar, or have premium plugins to improve your visitor’s web experience, you will most always save money purely on the website itself by using Squarespace (not to mention that you will definitely save time with Squarespace).
As a final encouragement to churches:
I have found that outsourcing a lot of the problems that come with websites to a company like Squarespace will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Outsourcing technology (such as your website) is especially nice for churches who, lets face it, are not in the tech industry (nor should they be). However, most comparable services (both church specific and not) range from 2 times to 8 times as much. Save yourself time, both now and in the long run while not sacrificing your website quality.
I would love to answer any questions you have, and I always enjoy hearing feedback/pushback, so please leave a comment below.
If you’re on the brink of starting your first website, or possibly redesigning a current one and are considering Squarespace, feel free to also reach out to get a free consultation and quote for your website.